Cul­tural cen­tre secures fund­ing

Project set to be com­pleted by next sum­mer

The Galloway News - - MULTI-USE HUB - Stephen Nor­ris

Work to trans­form a for­mer smiddy in Bal­maclel­lan into a cul­tural and and her­itage cen­tre is due to get un­der way later this month.

De­vel­op­ers Glenkens Com­mu­nity and Arts Trust Ltd (GCAT) an­nounced the news this week af­ter se­cur­ing full fund­ing for the £350,000 project.

It is an­tic­i­pated works will be com­plete and the Old Smiddy ready for open­ing by next sum­mer.

Trust chair­man Alan Smith pre­dicted the hub would be a ma­jor multi-use as­set to the re­gion.

It will also take pres­sure off GCAT’s main as­set, the CatS­trand in New Gal­loway, which is reg­u­larly burst­ing at the seams.

Mr Smith said:“This devel­op­ment will be a great ad­di­tion to what we are al­ready do­ing at the CatS­trand and to our other projects such as Bright Stars and Glenkens Com­mu­nity Nurs­ery.

“Whilst the new build­ing will have a ma­jor im­pact on Bal­maclel­lan vil­lage cen­tre, the aim is to pro­vide an as­set which will ben­e­fit a much wider au­di­ence of lo­cals and vis­i­tors.”

Once com­pleted, the cen­tre will build on the suc­cess of Glenkens Men’s Shed, which is based next to the build­ing.

It will pro­vide GCAT with ad­di­tional of­fice ac­com­mo­da­tion, space for ac­tiv­i­ties and events.

Fa­cil­i­ties will have a strong fo­cus on youth with a film and record­ing stu­dio, IT fa­cil­i­ties and meet­ing area.

Mean­while, a gallery space will per­ma­nently house paint­ings by highly ac­claimed or­nitho­log­i­cal artist Don­ald Wat­son, who lived in St John’s Town of Dalry.

Project back­ers in­clude the Gal­loway Glens Land­scape Part­ner­ship Scheme, LEADER, pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als and the coun­cil.

Gal­loway Glens team leader McNabb Lau­rie said: “The scheme has se­cured more than £2.7mil­lion from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund to sup­port projects that con­nect peo­ple to their her­itage and this am­bi­tious pro­posal ticks all boxes from our point of view.

“We will be work­ing with GCAT in the con­struc­tion phase to high­light tra­di­tional Gal­loway build­ing meth­ods and ex­plore train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“When the build­ing is com­plete, it will be ideal to host a range of other projects we will be un­der­tak­ing over the next five years.”

He added: “It is clear this build­ing will be a great eco­nomic boost for the Ste­wartry and beyond.

“Our part­ner­ship board were de­lighted to be able to sup­port this project and it is great news that it is now fully funded and able to get un­der­way.”

Board mem­ber Ed For­rest, co-or­di­na­tor of Gal­loway and South­ern Ayr­shire UNESCO Bio­sphere, said: “GCAT and its ap­proach to de­vel­op­ing dy­namic com­mu­nity- based ini­tia­tives em­bod­ies the whole ethos of UNESCO Bio­spheres. The Old Smiddy prom­ises to be yet an­other ex­am­ple to add to that grow­ing port­fo­lio of ex­cel­lence.”

De­lighted at progress Trust chair­man Alan Smith; Lind­sey Smith, of GCAT, and Nick Chisholm, Gal­loway Glens project of­fi­cer, out­side the Old Smiddy at Bal­maclel­lan

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